Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's a Zoo Around Here!

Our house is filled with, and surrounded by, animals. Of course, we have Bailey and Sophie, but we also have a pet turtle, a goldfish, two black phantom tetras and a dalmatian molly. Now we get to all the animals outside: last week, while taking out the trash, I heard a noise behind me and turned around to see, not one, not two, but seven deer run across the street, through our side-yard and on into the woods behind the house. The deer are regular visitors around our house, along with all the rabbits, birds, chipmunks...and squirrels.

I couldn't begin to estimate how many squirrels call our yard--and the surrounding area--home. Some days, I can count 12 to 15 in the back yard alone. They are always coming up on the back deck wreaking havoc on my potted plants and scratching up the deck beams. I will say that they are great entertainment for the cats, though!

Last week, while Mom was visiting, we saw a squirrel destroying my UT birdhouse in the back yard. She was chewing away at the hole in the front to make enough room for her to fit inside. We figured she was checking it out for a nest, but she gave up--I guess the inside of the small bird house just wasn't going to accommodate her.

This week, I noticed a squirrel on the roof outside my bathroom window. I watched her for a while as she carried bundles of pine needles and leaves into our gutter. Great! I guess this is the same squirrel who massacred my bird house.

Cute, but destructive!

After observing her for a bit, I began to hear noises coming from the gutter. I guess she really needed that nest quick because she's already had her babies. I just hope she didn't make a poor decision in building in the gutter--it's raining now and I hope the babies don't drown if the water gets too high. Surely she planned for this and the nest is high enough inside to keep the little ones safe.

A close view of the nest.

Mama sure has a tight fit!

Mama out and wary of the human taking pictures.

I'll keep an eye on her and see if I can't get a picture of the babies once they emerge. Bailey and Sophie have been fascinated by the whole thing and actually fight over who gets the prime viewing spot in the bathroom window!